Buddhism: The Dhammapada

I. Couplets

1. Everything you do is the result of how you think about things.
In this way, you’re actions are the result of your thoughts.
If you do not have a good frame of mind, then you’re not going to act properly,
and as a consequence bad things can happen to you,
in the way that a “cart follows an ox.”

2. Likewise, since everything you do is the result of how you think about things,
“is made by mind,” if you have a good mentality, if your mind is clear,
then you will be able to do the right things and therefore find happiness.
Happiness follows a clear mind the way a shadow follows your body.

3. If you are always telling yourself the ways in which you’ve been wronged with others,
then you will always be frustrated and upset.

4. However, if you can let go of the fact that people might have done bad things to you,
if you allow yourself to move on and don’t carry around that burden anymore,
then you can overcome that frustration and find peace.

5. If you hate somebody or something, this hatred will never end if you keep hating.
The only way hate can go away is if you stop hating. This is the only way.

6. We are all going to die. We are not immortal. This is a fact of life.
If you can reconcile with this fact, than you won’t be upset when it happens.

7. The world is not always nice. If you think it is, and you walk around idealistically and naively,
inevitably you’re going to run into issues because that’s simply not the way the world is.
You can’t just assume things will always work out in your favor.
If you do, you’re going to get “blown over” like a weak tree in strong winds.

8. On the other hand, if you realize that the world is not always nice.
If you are realistic about the dangers of the world, and go about your business aware of your surroundings,
with your “guard up,” then you have a better chance of being OK,
like a “mountain” which can’t be blown over by any wind.

9. If you dress like a holy person but you don’t act like it, then you’re not holy.
It’s just a show, form without substance.

10. However, if you strive to be a good person and avoid doing bad things,
then you are holy and therefore worthy of dressing as such, wearing the “saffron robe.”

11. If you pretend that false things are true, and don’t acknowledge the truth of real things,
then you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re simply living in your own world.

12. If you acknowledge what is real as being real, and what isn’t as not,
then you are being realistic and this is important.

13. You have to protect yourself from becoming corrupt.
If you’re not mentally strong, then impure thoughts and desires will enter your mind
in the same way that water gets into a house with a bad roof when it rains.

14. But if you protect yourself from impure thoughts and bad desires,
by having mental strength, then you can protect your mind
in the way that a house is protected from the rain when it has a good roof.

15. If you act badly, then you will feel the effects of your actions.
You can’t act badly without feeling negative effects.

16. In contrast, if you act good, you will feel good about what you have done.
Knowing that you are a good person is essential to true happiness.

17. If you act badly, you will be regretful because you know what you did was wrong.
However, you will feel even worse when you find yourself in a miserable place.

18. Likewise, if you act good, you will be happy about it.
Not only will you be proud of yourself, but you will find yourself in a better place as a consequence.

19. Talking about what is right is not the point. The point is to do good yourself.
Talking about what’s good but not doing it is like the “herder who counts another’s sheep.”
It doesn’t benefit you in any way.

20. In contrast, even if you don’t say much, if you do what’s right that’s what matters.
If you are truthful, don’t concern yourself with lust and hatred,
and seek to know to the truth about reality, have a clear mind,
and are not attached to what happens to you but just let it happen,
then you will benefit as a result.